(Sergio Martino, 1973)
It's Giallo Time again! Here we have another excellent example of the genre. The adorable Suzy Kendall plays Jane, who escapes to friend Daniela's uncle's villa with a group of girlfriends after one of them is brutally murdered. Little do they suspect the murderer might have followed...
Instead of the usual faceless killer in black so prevalent in the genre, the girls are stalked by a madman in a ratty ski mask. After slaughtering each of his victims, he pokes out their eyes or cuts them into pieces like a doll (this we know as there are flashbacks of said doll throughout). Some might say this was a precursor to Halloween, as the masked killer is absolutley silent and seems to appear in one spot and then the next at will. There is a fair amount of gore, but that's not what makes Torso so effective of a thriller.
Martino makes great use of suspense to provide the chills. The creepiest sequence would have to be when Jane is locked in the house with the killer. The French film High Tension basically lifted the scene when she initially panics and starts to hide all her things in an attempt to conceal the fact that she is there. In Torso it's taken a step further when the killer locks all the upstairs doors, trapping her. Her escape is nerve-wracking, to say the least.
Being a giallo, Torso does have the usual pros and cons. So-so dubbing, rubber heads, and red paint for blood were my only complaints. These are very much outweighed by the stylish photography, catchy soundtrack, and great cast. This has been re-released on DVD in N America, so go order it now! Essential viewing for giallo freaks.
10 months ago